Bench Press Techniques

Bench pressing more weight is a major goal of just about any guy who weight trains. Whether you’re a serious powerlifter or just a normal gym rat, increasing your bench press max is likely something you strive for. However, a huge bench press won’t come overnight. It takes time for most people to get up to a 300 or 400 pound bench press. Fortunately, there are some bench press techniques you can take advantage of to raise your max.

One of the best bench press techniques is to perform the exercise the right way to lift more weight. While you will see many people cheat like crazy to bench more weight, you’ll also see lifters who appear to be benching with perfect form but aren’t getting as much as they could out of the exercise. For instance, many lifters believe that the best way to bench press is to keep the back completely flat against the bench. However, when you do this you are doing yourself a great disservice. You will actually be training your chest more efficiently if you pull your shoulder blades inward while you perform the bench press. Using this bench press technique will pop your pecs out and target them better. When you keep the upper back perfectly flat you’re going to working your front deltoids and possibly your triceps more than you need to. You should also keep a natural arch in your lower back when benching and never raise your behind off of the bench.

Performing forced reps and negative only reps are both excellent bench press techniques. When you’re doing a bench press set have a spotter assist you with an extra forced rep or 2 to add some intensity to your workout. You could even try benching a weight that is just a little bit heavier than you can lift and have a spotter assist you throughout the entire rep. Negative only reps will require a spotter on each side of the barbell since you are basically doing only the negative part of the bench press. To do them you take a weight too heavy for you to bench and lower it slowly to your chest. When the weight gets to your chest the spotters help you lift it up. You need to lower the weight slowly and with complete control for safety and effectiveness when you do negative only reps. Both of these bench press techniques are useful for getting a feel for heavier weights when you’re trying to increase your max.

Another great bench press technique is to identify where you have the most trouble during a bench press rep and doing sets targeting just that part of a rep. Many lifters are weakest at the point of a bench press rep when they first start lifting the weight off of their chests. If this is true for you, you can do bench press sets where you only lift the weight a few inches off of your chest. The best way to do this is to set up in a rack that will allow you to place stoppers a few inches above you when you’re benching. When you do a rep, hold the weight against the stoppers for a couple of seconds before lowering it. If you have trouble locking out, you can use the same bench press technique in a different way. In this case you would set the stopppers so that you lower the weight to them and do only the last few inches of a rep. Soon, you’ll find that you are stronger at your weakest point in a bench press rep and you should be able to handle more weight.

If you take advantage of these great bench press techniques you will succeed at increasing your bench max. You can find more great benching techniques at Critical Bench.

Improve Your Bench Press

If you’re a guy who’s into weight training, there’s a good chance you’d like to improve your bench press. Though it doesn’t require as many muscles to lift the weight as squats and deadlifts do, it remains the measure of strength for most people. Without a doubt, improving your bench press strength will boost your confidence, and your chest muscles.

When you want to improve your bench press, proper form is key. Using sloppy form to bench more weight is a temptation many trainers succumb to. However, not only does it not work the muscles you should be working as efficiently when you bench, it can also be dangerous. When you bench, lie on the bench with your feet on the floor and a natural arch in the lower back. Scrunch your upper back – shoulder blade area inward to force the pecs to pop out. This puts more of the resistance on your chest rather than the front deltoids and triceps. When you’re in the proper position, unrack the weight and lower it in a controlled manner to your chest before trying to explode the weight upward. You should also have somebody spot you when you bench, especially when going heavy.

Another key to improving your bench is to train with high intensity. You should always try to go to failure on your working sets. Set small goals, and once you hit them, increase the amount of weight you bench or the number of reps you do. These incremental increases will eventually lead to exponential results. It’s also a good idea to make changes in your routine to give your muscles a kick, especially when you’ve grown too used to always doing the same thing.

Avoiding overtraining is also important when you want to improve your bench press. Too many beginning weight trainers get over zealous and believe that the more sets of bench and more workouts they do, the better. However, this will just end up burning you out. You can also overtrain, and not be recovering enough between bench press workouts. This can lead to sticking points and even strength decreases.

Another key to success when you want to improve your bench press is to train the rest of your body proportionately. Having strong shoulders and triceps will certainly help you bench more. Building your upper back muscles will make your upper body thicker, which will mean that you won’t have to lower the bar as far, and consequently, will be able to bench more. Even training you legs will help, as heavy leg workouts will boost your testosterone levels so your whole body gets bigger.

If you decide to try to improve your bench press, all of these things will help you in your quest.

Bench Press Warm Up Sets

Warming up before you bench press is very important. You need to the muscles to be loose and warm if you want to bench press at full strength. Bench press warm up sets will also help you avoid an injury.

It should only take a few bench press warm up sets to be ready for your real workout. The first one can be with some light dumbbells or with a little weight on a barbell. You may even start out with a set of push-ups. This set will have you doing 15 to 20 reps and won’t have you going anywhere near failure. The next set will have you doing 12 to 15 reps with more weight, but still not getting too close to failure. Your last bench press warm up set will have you lifting weight that’s not too far off of what you will be using during your working sets and will have you only coming up a couple of reps short of failure.

One thing you can do while you are warming up for bench pressing is to do some warm up sets for your upper back. Getting a bit of a pump in the upper back may help you bench press more weight as your body will just be a little bit thicker. Some light cable pull-downs and rows will warm up your upper back and get blood flowing into the area.

To help loosen the muscles up, be sure to stretch the chest muscles between each warm up set. Doing this will help you get ready for an intense bench press workout.

Bench Press Tips For More Size And Strength

Who doesn’t want to be stronger on the bench press? It’s easily the most popular weight training exercise to do and people are always impressed by a big bench press. Of course, you do need to follow certain guidelines to gain benching strength. There are many great bench press tips for getting stronger on this incredible exercise.

Without a doubt, one of the best bench press tips is to learn proper lifting form on it. It should be the first thing you do for the bench press and every other exercise when you start weight training. Too many beginning weight trainers try lifting too much weight too soon and end up developing bad lifting form on the bench press. Performing this exercise the wrong way will just give your joints a beating and could lead to injury. If you start out by constantly cheating when you bench, it will be much harder to curb those habits later on. Buy a book or magazine that shows you proper bench press form or have a personal trainer show you how to perform it properly.

Another great bench press tip is to train with high intensity. If you are trying to build strength and size in your chest from bench pressing, you need to constantly challenge yourself. Once you’re finished warming up, do all of your working sets of bench press to failure. This means that you do reps during a set until you can’t possibly do any more. You also need to try to either lift more weight than you did during your last bench press workout or do the same amount of weight for more reps. It’s impossible to improve during every single workout, but as long as you try, your weights and/or reps will eventually go up.

Avoiding overtraining is another excellent bench press tip. If you do set after set on the bench and don’t give your chest enough rest to get stronger and grow, you’ll end up stuck at the same weight or may even get weaker. Too many beginning lifters believe that they will get a bigger bench by doing numerous sets and only giving themselves a few days off between bench workouts. If you train with high intensity and perform the bench press properly, it won’t take very many sets to get a response. You also need to make sure that your chest is not still sore from your last bench press workout before you do it again.

Another one of the best bench press tips is to have somebody spot you when you are going heavy. Getting stuck on the bench with a heavy bar on your chest can be extremely dangerous. It would be optimal to have someone spot you during every single working set of the bench press you do. However, not everybody has a training partner and wants to ask some random person at the gym to spot them during every set. If you don’t have a lifting partner, you should at least make sure that somebody is around when you are benching in case you get stuck and always ask for a spot when you’re maxing out. Doing bench presses on a Smith machine can also be safer.

Once you start following these basic bench press tips, you’ll be on your way to more benching strength and a bigger, thicker chest.